January 13,2008 Baptism of Jesus Year A

Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-7
Matthew 3:13-17

Perhaps one of the most comforting of all Scripture is when Jesus says to each of us:"Fear not! I am with you." This saying has a deep meaning for each of us. What is this meaning?
Well, let us start with a true story, yet it has a message like a parable.
In 1853 the dreaded sickness, then called leprosy, now called Hansen's disease, entered the Hawaian Island Kingdom. The Hawaian rulers ordered all afflicted to be taken to the isolated island of Molokai. Taken from their families they were exiled for life. The wounds of the heart were harder to bear than the sickness itself. Isolated, lonely, feared, the people of Molokai lived a wretched life.
In 1873 Father Damien asked the government and Church to go to Molokai as their priest. Some accepted Fr.Damien, many did not. 10 years later Fr.Damien himself contracted leprosy. From that time all said:Fr.Damien is one of us. He can now really understand our sufferings. He is with us as a brother.
The Son of God, put aside the glory of God and took a human body, heart and soul. This Jesus approached John for Baptism. John said:"No, my baptism is for sinners, you are not a sinner." But Jesus said he wanted baptism. No, Jesus was not a sinner but he came to be with us sinners. Jesus is one of us. He experienced human limitations, weakness - He was 100% human (while still 100% God). He experienced suffering, so He has a real understanding of our frail human hearts. He is our firend, our brother.
Jesus today in a living voice says through the Scriptures to each one of us: "Fear not! I am with you. I call you my friend." Let us talk to Jesus as a friend.